There’s no better way to get the kids interested in nature

DAY 9 — Thank you, LL Bean! I am slogging through mud and algae — it looks exactly like green slime — and my feet are perfectly dry thanks to my pink and white flowered LL Bean rain boots (www.llbean.com). I’m also decked out in rubber LL Bean rain pants and my Patagonia rain jacket. We are following a bear trail-seeing where the Brown Bear sloshed through a stream (we see his paw prints) and demolished a …

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No TV, no internet, so what?

DAY 7 — By our third day on the boat, it doesn’t even seem the kids on board the 12 passenger Sea Wolf (www.seawolfadventures.net) — six boys from 12 to 17 and one 11 year old girl — are even missing TV, texting and the internet that much. “If I had it I’d be on it but I’m not really missing it,” said 15 year old Jake Blacutt. Instead, they’re playing marathon games of slapjack and hearts, …

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Snap…crackle…BOOM! Kayaking among glaciers and ice bergs

DAY 6 — Keep an eye out for the flat ice bergs. They are the ones that might get our kayaks in trouble because most are below the water. We are in the middle of Glacier Bay, paddling through the ice — big icebergs, little icebergs. One looks like an alligator. “I thought they were cool — they were so little on top and, oh wow — they were huge underneath,” said 14-year-old Xander Majercik. We’re in …

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Learning How To Kayak Among Ice Bergs

DAY FIVE — We are standing in a misting drizzle on the top deck of our home for the next week — the 12 person wooden boat Sea Wolf (www.seawolfadventures.net), getting a lesson in kayaking before we venture out in Glacier Bay for the first time. There’s not another boat in site. “Our aim is to keep your wilderness experience from being impacted by the cruise ships,” says Kimber Owen, who found her way to her boat …

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To Glacier Bay On A Converted WWII Minesweeper

Boarding the Sea Wolf for the 5-day cruise on Glacier Bay (click image to enlarge)DAY FOUR — “There’s really no cell service?” 12 year-old Max Weinberg wants to know. No cell or internet, I tell him. A week without texting? He’s having a hard time processing that. Welcome to Glacier Bay National Park (www.nps.gov) that is reachable only by boat or plane. We’ve joined three other families — together we have seven kids ranging from one 11 …

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Day 3 -This is the “un-cruise”

Louisiana teachers Jim and Becky Roth wanted to plan a family adventure for their blended gang of three daughters and son in law — a last gasp before Jennifer Cozad has her first baby. They considered a cruise, Becky Roth said, but decided that once they factored in all the excursions, the trip would be out of their price range. “So we thought let’s do the excursions without the cruise,” she explained. So that’s how the family …

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Day 2 in Alaska — the joys of fishing

DAY 2 — “The fish must hate us,” moans 13 year old Miles Singer. We are on the world-famous Kenai River in Alaska with one of the river’s best guides, Steve Fickes, who jokes that he’s been guiding “ever since I got my accounting degree” — more than two decades ago. It’s grand central on the Kenai this morning — about 50 small boats within a quarter mile stretch on the river hoping to catch one of …

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Back the to the bush – Day One of a new Alaska adventure

Bears on the runway? “Routine,” says Gerry Winkler, the pilot of our six-passenger Cessna. Routine, that is, when you are going to land on the beach at an edge of the 4-million acre Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. The area is a unique habitat close to succulent grasses that bears eat, the coast line where the salmon do a major run during the summer, and their winter dens. Welcome to “bear camp,” an outpost of the …

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Day Two at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

For the second day in a row on vacation, Sue Goodwin and Shamarie Johnson have hailed their teens out of bed before 6:30 am. “Getting here early is the way to do it,” says Goodwin, from Charleston, SC. At 7:30 a.m., they are the first in the line that already is hundreds deep waiting not so patiently, but happily, for the early-access admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando (www.universalorlando.com) that has just …

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Two days at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I follow the robes. They belong to two teenage girls from Louisiana who are wearing them proudly—they should for $100 each—as they head over to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter tucked in one corner of Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure.  www.universalorlando.com “Harry Potter tops Disney by far,” declares 17-year old Heather Lirette. “Get ready for fun,” adds Mercedes Hebert. And  crowds. The much anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter has just opened and even the most …

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